Fissures appear in GJM-Bimal camp, GNLF alliance after poll win

Sun, Jun 2, 2019

Our Correspondent
The pre-poll alliance between two former political rivals – the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal camp) and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is likely to be a short lived affair as the GNLF leaders have started suggesting a possible rift between the two outfits.
A speech by GNLF trade union leader J.B. Tamang, which went gone viral on the social media, suggests that his party and GJM-Bimal camp are at odds, even as both jointly backed the BJP candidates, who won in the recent Darjeeling Lok Sabha and Assembly by-election.
Senior GNLF leaders like Ajoy Edwards maintained that there was the need of unity adding that the alliance would remain until a long standing political solution is achieved, GJM leader Bimal Gurung also in an audio expressed the need of keeping the unity. However, political observers feel that the 10-minute video of Tamang was an indication that a section of the GNLF leaders and supporters were not happy with the alliance they had with the Morcha (Bimal camp).
Tamang in the video said, ¨I had said a number of times earlier that we would have won the MLA election if we had fielded our own candidate but looking at the way our leader Mann Ghisingh was working towards Gorkha unity we fielded a common candidate. But they (Bimal camp) seem to shooting guns resting on shoulders and only using us which is coming true now. They are stabbing us in the back.”
¨As soon as our party made the demand that the GTA should be scrapped and the municipality councillors in the hills should resign, their camp tried to take over the municipality here. They were only trying to show the power they have here by doing that. If they had trusted us and discussed the matter along with planned it with us then probably they would have been successful in it,” he said.
In his speech, Tamang also alleged that the Bimal camp wanted their by-election candidate Niraj Zimba to lose due to which they had not voted for him. Though Zimba fought the election as a BJP candidate, he was a GNLF leader while Raju Bista whom they had supported for the Lok Sabha seat was a BJP leader and candidate.
“The vote cast in the Assembly election has gone down by about 12 percent when compared to the Lok Sabha election which is proof that the Bimal camp did not vote for Zimba as they wanted to malign the name of the GNLF,” said Tamang.
“Be it GJM 1 (Bimal camp) or GJM 2 (Binay camp), they have taken away the benefits of the tea garden workers but we will not allow it. We have to be cautious as no matter how much milk we give our enemies it is like a snake and can bite you back.”
On the other hand, the GNLF steering committee leader Ajoy Edwards said, “The video was part of an indoor meeting that we had held but it is his personal view and there is this problem in the cadre level but on the top level we have taken the decision to keep the unity intact and the alliance will remain till a political solution is brought forward.”
When asked about the municipality issue where the Gurung camp tried to overtake the Darjeeling civic body without discussing, Edwards said, “We have nothing to say on that matter as originally they did belong to the Bimal camp and we applaud the ward councillors who did that as they were hearing the voice of the people. However, if they had planned with us and discussed with us then certain incidents could have been avoided as on that day people would have been there in thousands.”
Edwards also said that according to them the perfect solution would have been for the councillors to have stayed independent supported by all the alliance parties and that way they would not have felt so much pressure.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
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